Soup For Every Occasion

Whether it's a starter course, a soul-warming snack on a blustery day, or a welcome elixir for the common cold, soup is always appropriate. To celebrate its versatility, cook, teacher and author Lydie Marshall offers 150 diverse recipes in her latest book, "Soup Of The Day."

Marshall says she was not a very big fan of soup but her husband is a soup lover. One day, when she and her husband were arguing over who to vote for in the U.S. presidential election, Lydie promised to make soup every day if her husband voted for her candidate. Without a thought he agreed because he realized that soup was more important to him than politics. Her candidate won and she began experimenting with soup.

This became a catalyst for her new book. She says everyone wanted to give her recipes and she went on to test more than 100 of them.

Soup took her on a whirlwind tour of the world. There seemed to be an important soup in nearly every culture.

The book also features bread, salad, and dessert recipes, so you can make a complete meal centered around soup.

The following are some of her favorite recipes and notes from her book:

Mexican Chicken Broth
Marguerite Casparian, who is married to an Episcopalian priest, has lived all over the world. Right now she lives in Florence, but for many years she and her husband lived in Mexico. She learned to make this delicious chicken broth there: "I learned to make homemade broth from my grandmother and some secrets about seasoning from a guy who was tarring the roof of the house where we were staying in Mexico. I was looking for herbs and he came down to ask what I was making. When I told him chicken soup, he said I didn't need the handful I'd gathered--just thyme and mint. So this is a Mexican chicken broth made with my grandmother's patience and a roofer's taste buds."

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (1.5 cups)
1 small carrots, sliced (0.5 cups)
1 large celery stalk, cleaned and sliced (1.5 cups)
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
Several springs of parsley, chopped
1 (4 pounds) chicken
2 large sprigs fresh mint, or 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
4 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 large peered tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can of Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped.


  1. In a 9-quart heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrot, celery, 1 garlic clove, and the parsley. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the chicken, mint and thyme. Pour in the water, sprinkle with salt, and add the peppercorn. Bring slowly to a boil. Cover partially, reduce the heat, and simmer for 3 hours. With a long handed spoon, occasionally skim the fat that rises to the surface.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 garlic clove. Saute over high heat, stirring all the while for 3 minutes. Puree the tomato and garlic in a food processor and reserve for later.
  4. Gently scoop out the chicken and let it drain in a sieve placed over a bowl. Bone the chicken, discard the bones and skin and cut the meat in serving pieces and refrigerate for sandwiches.
  5. Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables and peppercorn, and add the reserved tomato mixture. Reheat the broth and taste for seasoning (2 quarts). If you have more liquid, boil it down to 2 quarts to concentrate the flavor.
  6. When cool, refrigerate the broth or freeze it. If you refrigerate it, remember to use it within three days or reboil it to avoid spoilage.

Mexican Chicken soup with tortilla chips

Friends of Susan Friedland, my editor, raved about a Mexican soup of chicken, chicken broth, and lime juice, served with tortillas.

6 chicken thighs and drumstick or 2 whole chicken breasts, split in half and not boned.
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon mashed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups Mexican chicken broth (see above)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
Up to 1/3 cup lime juice
Tortilla Chips (see page 163) or store- bought
5 ounces queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled (1.5 cups)


  1. Place the chicken pieces flat in a large 3 quart glass baking dish. Drizzle the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt over the chicken, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Bring the chicken to room temperature before barbecuing. Light a fire in your barbecue.
  3. Put the chicken directly over the coals to brown. Turn after 3-5 minutes to avoid burning, again 3-5 minutes on the other side. When all the pieces are browned, move them away from the coals and cover with the barbecue lid. Cook for 15 minutes for the thighs or drumsticks or 10 minutes for the chicken breast; turn the pieces over and cook for 10 more minutes for the thighs and drumsticks. During the cooking, baste witg the marinade of lime juice and oil. The breasts should be removed earlier in order not to dry out the white meat. Reserve, cover.
  4. Bone and skin the chicken and cut into serving size. Add the chicken pieces to the broth, along with the scallion and lime juice (start with 1/4 cup lime juice and more to taste). Sprinkle with salt if necessary. Refrigerate only if you make the soup hours ahead of time.
  5. When ready to eat, reheat the soup.
  6. To serve, place Tortilla chips in each soup plate and ladle the chicken soup over them. Pass a bowl of crumbled cheese.

The "Day After" Soup

Dominique Barres, the wife of my veterinarian, and I chat often about cooking while in the waiting room of the office (with six cats, I am a permanent fixture there). I was intrigued by her "green soup", a soup she makes with only green vegetables the day after - after indulging too much on foie gras, truffles, etc. - during the holidays. Since she was rather vague about quantities, I worked out the amount of vegetables needed for this easy and tasty soup. I make the soup when I feel a cold coming on or, like Dominique, if I have indulged in too much of a good thing. It takes almost no time to prepare; the soup cooks in about 20 minutes. Don't forget to warm the soup bowls - the soup is to be served very hot.

1 medium leek, including the light green leaves
0.5 pound zucchini
8 loose cups of lettuce (1 head)
10 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (about 2 ounces)
2 quarts water
5 teaspoons salt
Butter (optional)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)


  1. Split the leek in half to the stem and wash thoroughly under cold running water. Chop coarsely; you should have about 2 cups.
  2. Do not peel the zucchini. Split it lengthwise twice and then cut it crosswise in 1-inch cubes (2 cups).
  3. Stack the salad leaves and with a large knife shred them; you should have about 4 cups loosely packed.
  4. Chop the parsley with stems (2 cups loosely packed).
  5. Put all the greens in a 6-quart heavy-bottomed pot and cover with a little less than 2 quarts of water. Sprinkle with salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer at a gentle boil for 30 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly and puree the soup in batches in the blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve boilng hot with butter and grated Parmesan on the side, if you wish.

Cauliflower Soup (Serves 6)

We generally think of nutmeg to season cauliflower, but curry is also very good--it brings out the subtle taste of cauliflower. For this soup, I season with hot curry. When you pick up a cauliflower, buy a white head (the curd) without any brownish tinge -- the mark of age. Old cauliflower also develops a very strong, unpleasant odor.

For the soup
1 Medium cauliflower (about 2.5 pounds)
4 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth (page 3)
Vegetable Broth (page 5) or a commercial broth or bouillon cubed

For the White Sauce (Bechamel):
4 cups of milk (whole, 2%, or 1%)
1 small onion quartered
4 small bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 small teaspoon curry power

The Soup:

  1. Discard the green leaves and hard stem of the cauliflower; break the head into flowerets, trim them, and cut off the ends; peel the tough stem skin of the older flowerets. Chop into small pieces to yield about 8 cups.
  2. Heat the olive in a 6 quart heavy bottomed pot and add the chopped onion and cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Check once in a while to be sure neither the cauliflower nor the onion is burning.
  3. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover to reduce the heat and cook at a gentle boil for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender.

The white sauce:

  1. Bring the milk, onion, bay leaves, mace salt, and pepper to a boil in a 4 quart pan.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Add the boiling milk with the onion and bay leaves. Whisk in the curry. Reduce the heat and cook just under a boil for 30 minutes, whisking the sauce once in a while.
  3. Discard the bay leaves. Add the white sauce to the cauliflower soup and puree the soup in a blender or food processor, or with an immersion blender.
  4. When ready to serve, reheat the soup; taste and correct seasoning before serving.


Cauliflower soup with morels

1/4 ounce dry morels
1/2 cup water


  1. Soak the morels in the water for 1/2 hour. Strain (reserving the liquid for another preparation, like pasta) and wash then under cold running water to remove any sand clinging to the stems. Chop and poach them in the broth of the master recipe for 15 minutes. Strain the broth and follow the instructions in the Cauliflower soup.
  2. Reheat the morels in the soup for a garnish.

About Lydie Marshall
Marshall is the author of "A Passion For My Provence," "A Passion For Potatoes," and "Cooking with Lydie Marshall." She is the owner of Chez Lydie en Provence, a cooking school in Nyons, France. She splits her time between Nyons and New York City.